NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU offense got off to a quick start against No. 2 seed Houston on Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park, with three home runs in the first three innings, en route to a 8-6 victory in an elimination game of the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 1 seeded Sooners recorded 14 hits, the 37th time this season the club had 10 or more hits, and Steven Guerra limited the Cougars to four base knocks and three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings pitched.
Kody Kaiser hit a two-out solo home run in the second inning and was followed by Ryan Rohlinger’s three-run shot and Kevin Smith’s solo homer in the third inning.
Rohlinger finished the game with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate which included a career-high five RBI. The Sooners’ third baseman continued his recent hot streak that has seen him connect for seven hits, two home runs and 11 RBI.
On the OU mound, Guerra (11-3) put together one of the best outings of his career and it came at the right time as he held Houston hitless for 5 1/3 innings. The last time a Sooner won 11 or more in a season occurred in the 1998 season when Geoff Geary notched 13 victories. Guerra is tied for ninth on OU’s single season win’s list.
The Cougars finally broke up the no-hitter in the sixth frame on an Isa Garcia single through the right side of the OU infield.
Two innings later, the Cougars made things interesting with a trio of home runs late in the ball game to end the shutout bid. Guerra surrendered a two-run home run to Matt Weston and Brad Lincoln immediately followed with a solo shot in the eighth inning.
In the ninth frame, Jake Stewart contributed a three-run round tripper off of Will Savage to bring Houston within two runs at 8-6 and nobody out. John Brownell came out of the Sooner bullpen to put out the fire and record three outs and give the Sooners another day to play in 2006.
OU will resume action in the NCAA Norman Regional on Sunday at 1 p.m. against TCU. The winner of that game will advance to the championship game at 7 p.m., in which it will have to defeat Wichita State twice to move onto the NCAA Super Regional round of play. Monday's "if necessary" game is slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Tickets for the 2006 Norman Regional are still available and can be purchased online at SoonerSports.com or by calling (800) 456-4668. In addition, all OU games in the regional feature a live webcast, live audio and live stats at SoonerSports.com. The game can also be heard on KOKC 1520 AM.